Since clearly I can’t keep anything resembling a schedule if forced to write “after-hours,” I’m going to have to start writing these from my desk at work. This is how the magic happened at Watchfire, and how this blog was born, actually. I was tearfully bored at work and needed something to distract myself from the mind-blowing tedium of answering phones. After all the unpleasantness at the end, though, I was still able to keep a pretty darned consistent schedule. I think that was because my days were still pretty routine. I would get up in the morning, check my usual sites,* eat some breakfast or early lunch, depending on when I woke up, write the blog, and then spend the next however many hours looking for jobs.
*For the curious, here are the sites I check every week day, and in what order (excluding e-mail): ESPN, Grantland, Sports Illustrated, Joe Sports Fan, Uni Watch, Irregular Webcomic!, Darths & Droids, XKCD, Erfworld, A Softer World, Left Handed Toons, and Invisible Bread. And on Mondays, throw in Awkward Zombie and Aikonia after ASW. You might note that most of these are on the “Sites I Like” page.
My daily perusal and writing took about two hours, usually. Longer at Watchfire, since there were interruptions from calls. Now, though, I’ve settled into a job I like much, much better. Still, I’ve found there is a decent amount of down time while I wait on computers to do their thing. A natural place to slide in some sportswriting, yes?
The problem, as has been mentioned before on this blog, is that Alcoa has Weebly as a blocked site. This means that I’ll have to start writing my blogs on a word processor first. This one, and I’m guessing most future posts, was written in Google Documents.* This is how a lot of very respectable bloggers do their thing, and of course, how reporters generally do their thing. This method has been suggested to me before, usually when a connection problem has eaten a post-in-progress and forced me to rewrite or just post an apology. To this point, I’ve rejected the idea.
*Which, actually, is now called Google Drive for reasons that aren’t entirely clear to me. I mean, I get what they’re trying to do, but I don’t see where it’s really going to help or change anything.
I’ve done it that way before, but it’s just never felt like a natural progression to me. I wouldn’t call my writing style unfocused, but I would certainly say it is tangential. I don’t do a whole lot of editing to my writing in any form, and practically none for the blog. A lot of this has to do with editing on the fly. Judging from my peers, I can turn out writing pretty quickly. But there is a lot of thought going on while I’m writing. There is careful, if quick, thought put into word choice. I usually have a mental outline of where I want a paragraph to go and how I want it to flow into the next paragraph. The finished product doesn’t always flow to where to the mental outline pointed,* but it lets me give my writing a pretty strong form on the fly.
*In fact, it usually doesn’t. But that makes it that much more interesting to me and most likely for you, the reader, too.
This is a style that has worked for me all my life. I always struggled when I had to turn in first drafts, and then later turn in my finished work. There was rarely much difference. Sure, I might have found a grammar mishap here and there, but even those were rare. When I go back and read my old stuff, I cringe when I find those mishaps. But my ideas, my flow, I’m generally happy with. And I’ve had that reflected back to me, mostly in writing classes.* Almost everything I wrote got comments about how easy it was to read and how clearly things flowed.
*Another aside. I warned you that I love tangents. I love reading tangential writers, too. I dig footnotes like no other. It is probably the main reason I love reading Joe Posnanski so much. Anyway, I adored my writing classes. I would imagine most writing courses function this way, but the ones I took at Wabash were basically semester-long workshops. Each student either is assigned or picks days to discuss their work, in my case, either a short story or personal essay. So, you would distribute your work the class before it was to be discussed, and then you would spend the next session hearing a class discuss your work the same way they would discuss any other work in another class. It was very enlightening, and in my case, very encouraging.
This flow, this clarity, I think is a direct product writing almost everything I do in one shot. Because of this, it just made sense to me to write my blogs in the Weebly editor itself. It also made writing long posts (like this one is quickly turning into) more natural, and likely more fun. It let me see how the post would look on the site, and in a way, let me experience it as a reader would. That way I would have an idea when I should put in another picture to break up the text or to liven up the article besides. Believe me, nothing livens up or adds humor to an article than just the right picture. Something the folks over at Cracked understand all too well.
So, I resisted the very thing I’m doing right now. But, alas, there seems to be no other way to get me to work on schedule, at least at the moment. I sure hope that my slight discomfort in writing in a processor first will be far, far outweighed by the enjoyment of whatever readers I have left.
At least I broke down and did this before the playoffs, right?